It's Not Me, It's Me

I go to the place downstairs and order an omelette on multigrain toast. Sounds easy enough no? The omelette part is pre-made on premises and quite lovely as omelettes go.

The girl says what would you like on it?

I say a bit of butter, salt & pepper.

She does the toast. She butters, salts and peppers the toast and starts to wrap it up.

I say 'you forgot the omelette'. She looks at me like I'm strange and says 'that's why I asked you what you wanted on it'. Huh? What? But this isn't the first time I've been to the food Twilight Zone so I should know better.

She just continues to blankly stare at me as though I need to further explain what I want.

I say 'can you put the omelette on it please?' She says 'you didn't say you wanted an omelette' and I say to the girl next to me in line 'anyone you know order toast with salt & pepper' and she laughs 'uh no'. I say 'can I have the omelette on the toast please?'

By now Surly the counter girl is no doubt a bit embarrassed and slaps the omelette on the toast and fairly pitches it at me.

How long is appropriate to allow management to replace this defective's batteries? An hour? A day? A month? Or should I just rethink my diet?


Homelessly Devoted To You

One of my big hearted co-workers had over a period of a few weeks, chatted up, befriended and becoffeed one of the many local homeless guys, one with a dog.

It's been bitterly cold what with the winter and the blasts of cold air and such so she did a little housekeeping at home and found some perfectly good blankets that she no longer needed. She figured she'd give them to him and thereby help him and the poor puppy to stay nice and warm. Plus as she pointed out, you can't always just give them money, you've got to do something for them.

She told him about the blankets and her worry for him. He was moved, the dog wagged his tail and looked sad, she felt compassionate and he agreed to receive her the very next day at the same time, same spot for the handover and out.

The next morning, she bundled the blankies up and trundled her way through the train to a seat. She even took the earliest possible train knowing it'd be less crowded so as few commuters as required would be bothered by her trying to manoeuvre the bulky package of hope and warmth. Seeing this unwieldy arrangement at her desk, she filled me in on what it was and seemed so happy to give a little something back.

The next day at work, she didn't seem as buoyant as I would have expected following the performance of such a grand deed.

That fucker! He wasn't there. He stood me up! Can you believe that? I had to carry those goddamned blankets back home again and I almost missed my fucking train for him. Urunghh, can you fucking believe that?

Well, you can't really expect to rely on a homeless guy to be there when you need him can you? I mean, isn't that why he is homeless to begin with? You know -- sort of not so reliable with taking his meds, paying his rent, that kind of thing.

And I love the fact that you're willing to be charitable but only if it works with your train schedule!

Oh, you're terrible! He has a dog you know, I just thought he'd be where he said he'd be.

I shouldn't probably tell you but...that's his third dog. And he used to have a snake too.

You're kidding? Anyway, I drove in today and brought the blankets back. I'll go see if I can find him tonight after work and give them to him.

And if you don't find him?

I'm pitching those motherfuckers right out the window of the car and I hope they hit and kill someone.


Computah Sez No

When I had to have the Bodybox 5500 test done, a hospital card had to be issued to me first.

I handed over my photo i.d. and the feeb behind the counter began to enter information into her computer.

She verified my address and the only other question she asked was:

What is your marital status?

I asked her why she would need to know that and she looked blankly at me and said

'The computer needs to know'.

She said this without irony or interest.

I answered with confusion.

She gave me the card.

I shook my head.



I should tell you, I should tell you -- if you're not in the movie RENT, you shouldn't be singing along as though you are. This only makes the movie seem as though it's five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes long.

I went to see it yesterday and this 12 year old girl a few rows over sang as though she was auditioning and in between songs told her friend 'oh this part is good' or 'this is amazing' and so on. The only saving grace was that she was moved to tears several times and couldn't possibly sing every note of some of the songs. For this reason and her relative young age, I chose not to crush her dreams with my vitriol.

So I'm practically a good samaritan (in your eyes).


One Man's Folly

A friend sent me an email with instructions for one of those fun activities that you can astound and amaze your friends with. You know the kind - an impossible body activity like -rub your eyeball while licking your brain--see? can't be done- that kind. I've seen this type of email before and never had one changed my life. That is...until now!

This is how it went (and I know you'll be trying it yourself but please be careful, it can have an unintended result) --

While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor
and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6"
in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.
There's nothing you can do about it. Try it with the left as well.

Before I even tried it, I thought 'it would probably be more fun to get your entire office to do it at the same time and film it'. I always think in single quotation marks about group activities.
So, how did the exercise change my life? I tried it first with my right foot / hand and then added the left foot / hand going counter clockwise and was immediately cast in a musical follies show! I didn't even think they were still around!

Since I'd always thought show biz could be an option, I no longer work in an office. In fact, right now? I'm appearing nightly in your town. Up to you to find me though.


This Year's Model

So just like most people on a Friday afternoon in November, I found myself doing a pulmonary function test and sitting in this little isolation booth. The test was ordered because of some lingering bronchitis issues I was having. Honest, I never felt worse than after quitting smoking!

The technician is outside and speaking into a microphone and her voice comes through a tiny speaker. Her dulcet tones in broken English talk you through the different types of breathing they want you to do into the tube. What fun. In between instructions, I'm sizing up my little isolation booth and spy the nameplate affixed to the glass: Bodybox 5500.

Now is that a name to inspire confidence that I'll make it back out of there? Instead of calling my little glass coffin that, couldn't they had named it the Wheezemaster? Or Rasp-o-Matic, that would have worked too.

There was also a small sign on the wall outside the booth that said to be careful when sitting as chairs can slip out easily. I think it's discernible from the photo that the chair is bolted down to the floor. None of the chairs in the lab had casters. Huh? is all I can say to that.

As much fun as medical testing can be, I do hope to now stop documenting the folly surrounding mine.

RK Oh Oh

I went out for a drive this morning with John. A squirrel crossed the road ahead a ways and I jokingly said, maybe I'll hit that squirrel for practice. And I did. Not on purpose. Oops. My first roadkill.

Uncle Milty

If you're being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then on to a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire. They're trained for that.

--Milton Jones


The 41 Year Old Itch

Remember the ads for the film The 40 Year Old Virgin where they show the poor fella getting his chest hair waxed?

Well, when I went for an exercise stress test, they make you put on comfortable clothes so I had the standard t-shirt and shorts on. The tech lady says 'you'll have to take off the t-shirt so I can put these sensors on'.

I lift my arms and begin removing my t-shirt. You know how there's that second or two where your face would be covered by the shirt as you lift it over your head? Well, my new friend takes this opportunity to assault my chest with a disposable razor - no warning, no accompanying cream or powder, just a heartless slash down one side of my chest.

This surprised me to no end and I let out a strangled cry that I now imagine to have sounded like 'haowrpmph'. She says 'oh sorry, I have to shave you so the electrodes will stick' and slashes down the other side.

So now I have two unique patches of 'no hair' on my 'pecs'. They're more vertical than horizontal as worn by Steve Carell in the movie but they're my battle scars and I'll wear them just as not so proudly.

Thanks crazy lady shaver.

Post Script containing irrefutable facts:

My heart does indeed beat.
I do sweat when forced to run in place at high speeds.
I didn't drop dead.


Fiona - Apple Of My iPod

Things I can't get out of my head or off my mp3 player currently:

Extraordinary Machine. ......................Fiona Apple
Inaudible Melodies................................Jack Johnson
Colours................................................... Amos Lee
Got My Own Thing...............................Liz Phair
And..........................................................About 2820 other items


Celebrity Skin

It must have come from reading an online journal that had a post about dreams you've had involving celebrities and sex.

A lot of people seemed to have had some pretty interesting dreams and sex with celebrities. I remember thinking that I hadn't had too many dreams involving celebrity sex but I had dreamed about Matt Lauer, more than once about Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett-Majors and then the other night, about Moby.

Matt: It started out on a hilltop behind the house I grew up in. A whole group of people were on the hill and wondering how we would get down. The lady from work most unlikely to do so coiled herself up into a circle and rolled down the hill to demonstrate. We all followed suit.

Next we were in a large apartment entranceway and I realized without any visual clue that it was Matt Lauer's place. Everything was swellegant and swanky and I kept thinking how jealous my brother David was going to be since he was the Matt Lauer fan and not me. Of course, my brother David probably wouldn't know who Matt Lauer was let alone idolize him in any way. I believe we were offered cocktails and then I sat down on the floor and played chess with Matt who was very personable. I don't remember much else except thinking that he'd better do something about that bald spot.

Steve Austin & Jill Monroe: I used to have a recurring dream as a child which I believe was based on a horror / fantasy type comic book I had read. There was a long covered bridge, a shrieking witch head up in the sky, some merchants on the bridge and general foreboding. At some point, I escaped the feeling of dread by jumping in the water and swimming. As I wasn't such a strong swimmer, I soon began to falter. Some sort of crudely drawn aquaman type (think Rocket Robin Hood) character would rescue me and deposit me on the shore. I had variations on this dream many times but at some point I remember having it and ending up in a cave with Lee & Farrah. Nobody spoke but I felt safe being with them. Farrah would smile at me and Lee wouldn't really look at us but I knew I was now safe. She was up on a higher level of the cave and Lee I think was busy figuring out how his bionics were going to get us out of this mess. Does this make her my Farrah godmother? Sorry.

Moby: So, I'm walking up a hill with a bunch of people (my dreams seem to be populated with bunches of people) and I realize that some of them are friends of my sister. We somehow figure out she is gay. I don't really seem too shocked. After a while, I end up realizing at some point that Moby is in the house next to wherever I am (no longer on a hill). I peer in through the old tyme screen door (wooden frame) and see a guy asleep on a bed. It's Moby. I walk in being quiet so as not to wake him. He's sleeping on a cot. I watch him for a while and just look around. There are floor to ceiling record albums around a corner from the armchair that I'm sitting in.

Moby wakes up and doesn't seem too startled to see me there. We make small talk, I'm a bit uncomfortable but he seems cool. He decides we should put some music on. We go around the corner and start poring over the albums. He pulls out a Bob Dylan record and mentions what a classic he is. I can't believe I'm saying it to Moby but I feel I have to and say that I'd rather slice my wrists open and bleed to death than listen to Bob Dylan since he's so overrated. I'm sorry I'm saying it but I feel I really have to. Moby isn't impressed but he's still a polite host. We go back to the bedsit / living area and there are a bunch of other people there. Someone lights a joint and it gets passed around and I take a couple of puffs. There is some chit chat and eventually I realize that they all have plans and I'm really intruding when they have stuff to do that doesn't include me. I start to make my exit and this is when the clock woke me up.

Oh yes, and I have sex with all of them. Okay, I didn't but I'm surprised I haven't done it with half of Hollywood in my dreams by this point considering I eat up all that celebrity crap like it's candy. I'm not alone. Society and it's fascination with celebrity: Next on Blogger Blahgging.

How could I have forgotten? I also remember dreaming many years ago about Max and Mr & Mrs H from TV's Hart to Hart - Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner. Weird.

Weirder than that is how I was reminded of this dream. I was watching one of the ultimate bad ideas of the late '7o's - The Concorde Airport '79 and Robert Wagner was in it. Strange that I didn't remember my dream after seeing him in countless other bad things and Austin Powers etc. If you're looking for an explanation for why I was watching Airport '79, I think I'll pass on that for now.



Having regard for the fact that there is very useful and easily digestible information to be found in the free transit Metro News paper (see previous post), I worry about the pall it casts on the many readers I encounter throughout my day.

The paper is basically a bite sized and if not tasty, at least edible capsule that gives you the jist of the day's big stories, the weather and some all important celebrity hoo haw. I love me some hoo haw.

The problem is that if you listen carefully, when people are chatting say at work, they all seem to have the same half dozen tidbits of information that they just keep regurgitating over and over courtesy of the daily capsule.

There's no in depth discussion of any topic or addition of any information, just someone recounting what they read on the way in, someone else nodding, another saying 'yep, I heard something about that' and everyone else verifying the piece as gospel. Didja hear about ...? ad nauseum.

No other big point to make, just that small talk annoys me to no end. My brain is no larger than anyone elses but can we not just talk about other things than what we've been spoon fed?

Oh, and shut the hell up about the traffic on your drive in. Nobody cares, it only allows them an in to tell their traffic tales.

Willing To Be, Aiming To Be

Last week while reading the Metro newspaper on the way to work, I read one of those 'Where Are They Now?' pieces and it happened to be on Meryn Cadell. I had wondered what happened to Meryn and the piece made me wonder some more.

I checked out Meryn's online journal and haven't been able to put it down so to speak.

Many songs courtesy of Meryn's exquisite brain are permanently lodged in mine. I was lucky enough to see her perform years ago in a club in Toronto with my friend Chris who was always dragging me to things I didn't really want to go to. I was glad I went to this event. Meryn was intriguing, creative and made me wish I was a performer.

Back to the Metro article. It mentioned that Ms. Cadell had transitioned into Mr. Cadell and this fascinating tidbit is delved into by Meryn on his journal. There's a Q & A and information about the transition along with some great pieces just on daily life, events and you know, the stuff of journals.

Basically, I'm glad to hear that Meryn hasn't disappeared. There's also talk that there may be a reissue of the CD's which I look forward to.

I'm here where I want to be.




I am torn.
To write. Or not to write.
This happened last year too.
What to do? What to do?

50,000 words in 30 days.
Can it be done?
Yes it can. I know. I did it year one.
But then I crapped out last year.
I went about 1/3 of the way and just said fuck it.

Nearing the end of November 2005, I add this little postscript --
Why can't it be called NaPeSeWriMo (National Perfect Sentence Writing Month)
I'm quite confident that I've written several perfect sentences not only this month but on many other occasions as well.



I just ordered a new book. I love ordering books. Sometimes I have to have a book. I need it. This doesn't mean I'll ever get around to reading it but I still need it. Okay, need, want, it can get pretty confusing, whatever.

There are books however that I know right away I will both need and read. They're those memoir type books that are so popular right now. You know the I survived a crap childhood type of books.

I don't know why but I simply must have them. I generally go around hating everyone on earth but something about all these tiny survivor stories makes me feel like maybe my heart isn't two sizes too small.

I'm always looking for me in them. Oh no! Dale! Are you a tiny survivor too? Well, we all have our own childhood things to sort out don't we?

Although I would say that I've at least evolved out of the trailer park, I still find that every now and then I like to strum a banjo. There's just something down right soothin' about the wind whistling through your tooth while your pickin' finger plucks out a gentle refrain.


Throwing A Fit

As if my post smoking weight gain isn't enough to defeat my feelings of general superiority, yet another indignity confronts me while I pull on my pants.

Not much fits without straining at the seams lately. It seems that a mere 10, 12 or 20 pounds really do make a difference.

I choose my navy Nautica khakis. They're cut a little bigger which interestingly makes me feel a little less elephantine. They move. They breathe. And as I pull them up, it's gonna be a sunshine day after all!

I glance down as they come up and a little tag on the inside of the waist band commands my attention. Never noticed that before. What does it say in the tiny print? Squinting: 'Relax Fit'.

Not relaxed fit but Relax Fit. It's not like there wasn't room for the whole huge word 'Relaxed' on that tag. My pants are now taunting me:

Relax!Fit? No, you're fat.
Relax fatso, these'll fit. Relax!

I finish hoisting them up, fasten all the pullies and trusses around me to keep them in place. I hold my breath and make a plan.

Walk, that's what I'll do! I'm gonna walk and I'm not gonna stop until it's all gone. If it takes days, I'm gonna...Hey! What's this? A package of homemade fudge sent by mail from good old Mom? I almost forgive you for everything!!

After I eat this one little pound and a half of fudge, it's walking for me and nothing but! I'm just gonna...Relax.


Too Tired To Just Say No

Free sample products thrust at me as I exited Union Station today on my way to work:

Small box of Fibre 1 cereal - right on the box it says VERY HIGH FIBRE - consider petitioning company to rename to Colon Blow.

Small container of Cottage Cheese with real Fruit in the Bottom! - that says it all doesn't it? Clotty white gunk with fruit on the bottom. Mmm, I'm hot for that.

Gave both items to perky new girl Jessica at work. She's game. Will monitor.


Why Do The Heathen Rage?

I enjoy breakfast although I don't eat it often and rarely at home. Generally on a weekend it's more likely that I'd head for the local All Day Breakfast place in town.

This place I usually go has the old tyme booths with the mini jukeboxes and the bad Top 40 just a-begging for your quarters. The minis typically go hungry.

Although I've been called fussy in regard to food, I think my requirements are within acceptable limits at breakfast:

3 Eggs over hard (no runny jubbly bits for me thanks),
Regular bacon
Brown toast (sort of how I see myself, one big complex carb)

See? Not too demanding or odd.

The waitress comes and takes my order and John's. Within 10 minutes, the food is ready and in front of us.

It's obvious very quickly that the bacon on my plate has been cooked beyond the limits of what even the pig would consider acceptable. I like crispy but draw the line at brittle. I pick up a piece and it crumbles, I touch another piece and it fairly turns to dust. For the record, John's bacon is not as well done.

I ask the waitress if it's possible to get some bacon that's a little 'less dead'. She smiles and says sure realizing on sight what the problem is. She goes to the little order window, calls in for a side order of medium done bacon and then comes over, leans in conspiratorially, puts down a side plate and says using my terminology, just put the 'dead bacon' on this plate, I'll eat it, give you the new bacon, won't charge you for it and nobody will know. Um, okay, sure.

I raise an eyebrow. John's confused, so am I. But not for long. While she's off serving someone else, big swarthy and cyclopsy cook lumbers into view carrying a saucer of limp barely cooked bacon in one of his mitts and grunts to the waitress. She points to me and he stands over me and fairly bellows: something wrong with that bacon? (the bacon that lies sadly fractured), I say well, yes, it's too crisp. He says nobody else would stand over that hot grille to make nice bacon like that for you! Nobody! No matter where you go!

I'm just looking quizzically back at him at this point and shrug my shoulders. He puts the new bacon which is indeed vastly underdone down, takes away the insulted bacon and makes his way back to the kitchen cave. There's a bacon Nazi? Nobody told me.

The waitress comes back a few minutes later with the bill, shows me that she's written in an extra side order of bacon at $3.00 and with something approaching a sloppy sleight of hand, puts $3.00 in coins down in front of me. She leans in yet again, she says he's very cranky and I'll tell him that you insisted on paying the $3.00. She takes the bill away with her.

Have I just entered the fucking breakfast Twilight Zone?

She comes back again -- hey all I want to do now is just eat and leave before I'm asked to dance any more of these steps I don't know. She says he'll probably come back over now and apologize. Yeah, I'd like that. I simply say it's okay, I'm over it. Get me outta here.

We wolfed down the rest of our brekkie, calculated what it was all worth, left a tip and scrambled out of there.

I can fry an egg and be surly. Maybe I'll start trying to fend for myself.


The Tao Of Kang

Kang is reflected in the eyes of Angela.

Angela has been given the potential gift of all knowledge that has come before her.

Kang is one part of this knowledge.

Angela will know that fullness can be emptiness, harmony cannot be without discord, chaos is borne of too much control and earth reflects heaven. Heaven does not exist without Kang.

Kung Pao Kang Tao Primer:

Kang is the name baby Angela has given to Tanya because she can't pronounce Tanya (or refuses to on principle).

Tanya likes poo.

Pooh has had his Tao done so why can't Kang?


Maybe I'm Amazed, Maybe Not

Whenever I've had occasion to visit other people's cottages, especially ones used by many different family members at different times, I've always enjoyed taking note of the different magazines and other reading materials scattered about.

You can usually count on a dog-eared Reader's Digest from 1974 (complete with a I Am Joe's Ingrown Toenail article) cozied up to an Architectural Digest which mightn't be quite big enough to cover the stack of National Enquirers. Then there are the books, any classic from Lawrence Sanders and John LeCarre to Sidney Sheldon and a well worn Harlequin or two.
I'm refusing here to acknowledge any sort of novelty bathroom reading. Damn.

On a recent visit to John's cottage, I came across something that at first frightened me. Fright turned to fascination and wonder and from there it was all fits and peals of laughter.

Here was a new sort of magazine previously unknown to me. Now, I've heard of scrapbookin' as an art (heh) but I'd not imagined that it was something that merited it's own magazine.

I'm still not sure it does.

Who knew there were so many ways to put a photo in an album and fancy it up? Not I.

Really, ideas on how to use scraps of coloured paper, stickers and other doodads to help adorn photos and keepsakes is about all I could make it out to be.

This must be the terrain? domain? insanity? of some very bored and possibly unhappy people. Careful that you don't spend so much time framing those little photos into manufactured memories that you forget to make real ones.

The simplest photo of you just standing there potentially could become so adorned at Mom's hand that it might just be forced to become fraught with meaning.

remember that time? you remember! we had just come from that thing and you said that funny thing about the other thing and then we went here and there and then something else happened and I bought this ribbon and you were standing there so I took the photo and arranged the ribbon under the corner of the photo in this album just so, remember that? that was a nice time wasn't it dear? remember? yeah, it was nice

It all reminds me of those people who go on vacation and camcorder every single thing never taking their viewer eye away from the machine for fear they'll miss something to bore everyone back home to death with. What about actually experiencing the moment? Don't let the photos / video become the memory.


The most gratifying section of the magazine was not the one that showed me what to do with those leftover paper doilies from my last tea party but rather the networking list of the many scrapbooking outlets throughout the U.S. of A., Canada and even extending into the U.K.

Try on the names of some of these scrapbooking stores for yourself.

I find it helps to announce the names aloud in your best pageant voice for the national televised audience.


Scrappin' USA Superstore

Scrapbook 'n' Such




Scrap 2 It

Scrappin' Attack!


and those were really just a very small sampling. Most have their own websites too so feel free to order lots of shiny things from them.

My cottage will only have serious magazines such as People and real literature like Harry Potter.


It's Funny Cause It's Sad

Didja ever...

... see the brilliant British series The Office?

...marvel at the creativity and wit of Ricky Gervais?

...wonder how he came up with all those zany characters?

...come to the realization that it's funny because it's true and you know this because you work in an office too?

...wonder which one you are?

I have and I'm frightened.


The Ouchfit

I may be a little obsessed with food since quitting smoking about 3 weeks ago.

I don't understand why nobody makes a hot fudge salad.

Most of the clothing pieces I throw together would be better referred to as ouchfits.

It is not helpful to eat a large bag of Smoky Bacon potato chips while reading William Leith's The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict.

Next week, I'm going to become obsessed with finding out whether the 6 pounds gained in 2 weeks can be as easily lost.

I think I know the answer already.


Up A Lazy Thought Process

I was cleaning the bathroom mirror this morning and the most fascinating thought entered my mind. I wondered nearly aloud, whether maids (as in those you hire when you're too lazy to clean your own bathroom mirror) are as diligent in their home cleaning habits when they're not being paid to do a good job.

I thought of myself (not a first) and realized I am a decision maker in my job and therefore am practically unable to make a decision at home no matter how grave the necessity of my involvment. Should I have the barbecue chips or the regular?

So my question has some significance, some relevance does it not? Would I ever find an answer to this fascinating bedazzling quandry?

And then the answer came to me!

Nobody cares, least of all me.



No, it doesn't stand for So Fuck You but it could! Effing Alan Ball.

Six Feet Under. Again. The finale to the series. Yeah, thass right, thass what I'm talkin' about.

Alan, what was with that future flash forward tacked on to the end of the last episode? I was already crying and ready for Claire to head off into her future. She would have been okay too. But nooooo, you had to make us watch each of the main characters unconvincingly aged and pulled years into the future by their ridiculous hair and make up to learn what kills them one by one.

Boredom. That's what kills most of them especially poor Brenda. Looks like Billy just talked her right to death and kept on a talkin'. A slew of unspectacular deaths.

What can it all mean? Am I going to die too? Will my life ultimately be insignificant? Nah, that kind of crap only happens on TV.

Team Nancy: World Police

Ever watched Nancy Grace on CNN's Headline News Channel? You know Nance. She's the one who cures cancer, runs the U. N. and basically restores peace and freedom to those who need it around the world every night from her little square office on the magic talking box.

Nancy blares on at the Americas nightly because talking REALLY LOUD seems to work for her. Although she does tackle important issues, clearly has a heart and wants justice, she still manages to rankle my snarky little self more often than not.

Tonight for instance, she went on at length about all the foul ups committed by the officials in Aruba over the missing teenager investigation. Actually, it's day 86 of her going off at length, sneering and snorting over the way things are handled there. Nancy punches on about Aruban law and what it permits and what it doesn't.

That's right Nancy. It's Aruba! They have their own laws. It's not America! In your spare time away from the show, do you feel as passionately about the way Aruba is run? Are you an advocate for changing Aruban law or do you just like to talk REALLY LOUD at work?

Nancy also has mini me types from such esteemed and hallowed halls as Court TV and other such fake channels that mostly agree with her and spend no small amount of time bolstering each other's egos. Everyone agrees that if this was happening in America and not Aruba, things would be different. Wow! Court TV for president!

Another segment of the show dealt with the fact that Olivia Newton John's partner of 9 years has been reported missing. Apparently he's been missing for some weeks. Nancy, Sluggo and the gang are concerned! Why would this man's ex-wife have been the one to call him in as missing? Did she speak with Olivia? Where was Olivia? Touring? Olivia should have used her celebrity to call attention to the fact that he was missing. Bla bla bla bla bla bla friggin' bla.

Shut up and let the chips fall where they may people. Expose injustices, lobby for change, go get your brows reshaped but please Nancy please - stop talking unless you have something to say that's constructive and useful.


Me Against The Music

Possible reasons poor Madonna / Hodonna was thrown from her horsie:


Pushed by husband and / or kids.

Began to sing and startled the horse.


Narm Is The New Black


For nearly 5 whole seasons of Six Feet Under, Nate's been whinging his way through life completely absorbed in himself and mewling about whether he'll find happiness. Of course, the only way to know if you'll find happiness is to have sex with some of the most loathsome and annoying creatures on earth and whine some more. I know it's worked for me to a degree.

As cold as it may make me sound, when Nate let out his unexpected cry of Narm and hit the floor, I practically squealed with delight, not something I'm generally known to do (at least I hope not). I'm not sure if I was more pleased that it looked to be the end of him (I could spoil it but won't) or that Brenda would find out what he was up to with ferret-y Maggie. No offense, but I would have narmed myself had I just finished heaving myself off of her too.

If you aren't caught up on your Six Feet Under, you may be at a loss to know just what the hell I'm on about or you can simply accept that I may be off my meds. Like poor Billy. Billy. Hmph. The show is all about Claire (and me) anyway.



Tell Me More Tell Me More

One of my favourite things to do when I do occasionally manage to get myself out of doors is eavesdrop. Crowded restaurants work as well as anything I've found. This works best when the person across from you is so boring that you're more or less forced to sit there and gather material. Stolen snatches of conversation which on their own sound ridiculous help me build mini histories for the people I'm observing.

A few nights ago, I had the good fortune to be bored fairly to tears when my antennae picked up on a young self made motormouth boring someone else into their salad while espousing their philosophies of life, love and etiquette.

This guy was a clean cut decent looking fellow (aren't we all) describing how successful he was becoming at fleecing people out of their money designing websites for the needy souls of the corporate world. He was amazed at his own prowess and was hoping everyone else was just as interested. I had very nearly tuned out when he began a discourse on how his sister was single and would probably remain so forever.

He was strangling his poor fork with a closed fist covering the whole thing save the barely breathing tines. He began shovelling some salad concoction into his mouth while describing how his sister had so many bad habits that she'd never meet anyone who could tolerate them.

With mouth filled to near capacity and chewing wildly, he continued to talk saying he couldn't even set her up with any of his friends as they'd never be able to get past her bad habits. This from a chump with a food filled mouth practically spitting bacon bits in his poor captive's face. In some circles, talking with a mouth filled with food might be considered bad manners but what do I know? I never did go to finishing school.

I loved the sight and the sound. He couldn't have known how ridiculous he was. I've decided that if he was the one who finished charm school in his family, his poor sister indeed has no hope. Probably a relatively pretty young thing but powerless to stop picking her nose while in polite company.

I love the people. I hate the people. Maybe I'll go out for dinner again tonight.


Jonathan Livingstone SeaGerrrrls

Vicky recently lent me the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on DVD. I'd heard of but never seen it. Things did not bode well initially as I fell quickly into a short succession of naps whilst viewing. Being the soldier that I am, I gamely went back and picked up where I left off each time.

Accolades aside, what shall remain with me First, Last, Always! is the gathering of one of the most hideous female casts of all time. I think she's enormously talented but come on, don't you think that when Maggie Smith was born, someone had to have thought if not exclaimed aloud 'oh my, she looks 40 already'.

My gerrrrrls indeed: The headmistress, her near mute secretary, the other denizens of the school - ruff rough ruff. The young students weren't as jarring to look at with perhaps the exception of poor Mary MacDonald, our girl of the sideways looks, those eyes may haunt me for some time. And Mary with a stutter as well, doomed from the start.

It was a treat to see 'Hudson' from Upstairs, Downstairs (Gordon Jackson) in the cast and interesting to learn afterward that the art teacher Teddy Lloyd (Robert Stephens) was Maggie's real life husband at the time.

The film follows Jean Brodie teachings and attempts at molding her young students with what she believes to be a progressive vision of what a modern young woman should be. In a conservative school for gerrrrls, this causes a great deal of friction between Jean and the headmistress. Being a force of nature and a redhead however, there's no stopping her.

Jean's a bit lost and rather contemptible as you learn through shifts in your perception as events unfold. There's a definite tribute due the director, material and the performers in the subtlety of how this plays out. The climactic showdown between teacher and student Sandy who refuses to accept that Miss Brodie in indeed in her prime and qualified to pass on her wisdom is well worth the rather long viewing time.

Repetitive in parts, it was overall, a fine and enjoyable piece of work -- one of those films that the more you think about, the more it grows on you.


How Was Your Day Archie?

I'm on the train alone heading for work on a particularly unspectacular day but for the blinding sunshine. I describe it thusly as at one of the many intersections we cross, someone in a car is blinded by this same sunlight and manages to get stuck on the tracks. In a case of the best worst timing ever, the car gets stuck just as the train barrels along right into them. A shout from the conductor up front of Oh My God No! and then the worst metal crunching sound I've never heard in the movies assaults my ears.

Debris flies past my window. An empty water bottle, bits of dust and metal. I'm in the front car of the train. Need to rethink that. A horrible mess and an utter shock. We actually push the wreckage a good length before we can stop. Now it's an incredible day in the blink of an eye.

They announce over the P.A. that we've hit a car. People whisper and whimper. Someone starts to cry. We're ushered into the next car to wait for emergency personnel to attend the scene. Two hours of reflection and speculation pass until we're offloaded to buses. Some people go to work, some go home. I go on to work. Later that night, I go to a Sarah McLachlan concert which is great but because life isn't always, I'm somewhat distracted.

It takes some time to process this awful event. It becomes known that the person who was in the car and killed instantly was a young rabbi on his way to morning prayers. This makes you question your faith and other people's faith in the greater power.

I still startle if I hear any kind of loud sound while on the train like the lady whose cane occasionally hits the floor after coming loose from where she tucks it in beside her.

Weeks later and I'm talking to my father on the telephone. My father does not mean any harm. Really. He says So were you on the train that hit the Jew? It's just a question. He's a good man who although not politically correct, is not racist. He's just got a way with words. Or not. If my father rode the train (and wasn't my father), what would I think of him?


Sum 41

I am more than the sum of my parts. This must be true because I read it somewhere.


After The Highs And The Music

I think I very recently went on at some length about how wonderful life is, how music transports, how if we all just held hands and circled the globe...and that sort of thing.

I've crashed already.

Today was one of those stupid days *and it ain't over yet* where all the invisible conspirators are having a laugh at me.

I took a fairly new and somewhat expensive watch in to get the battery replaced - it doesn't need a battery, it needs Ziebarting: it's corroded inside.

I tried on a pair of pants, they refused to fit properly in any size: I'm not getting fatter, really.

I thought I'd drown my sorrows in a burger, I almost drowned in the warmed over grease it seemed to be topped with: I ate it anyway.

Then I bit my tongue: Can tongues put on weight?

I ordered a coffee with milk, they used cream: I am getting fatter.

Okay, so those are pretty minor things granted. But that's all in the space of about 45 minutes. I get fat fast!

I'm really looking forward to a brighter hour where I can say: that was a little bit of alright that was.





The tick is actually silent, the watch will still need repair.

iPod Is A 4 Letter Word

So is fear. Like the fear of having something playing on my beloved iPod that someone might deem uncool were they to intrude and ask what I'm listening to and me not have an answer prepared. I always do have an answer prepared. It's fuck off. I'm wearing headphones. Why would you think I'd want you to engage me? No, actually, I'm sure I'd think up something appropriately cool right on the spot and answer properly. Just like that.

Herein lies the crux. Cozying right up to Omara Portuondo is Olivia Newton John. Livvy - you know I honestly love you but... Coming straight after Red Hot Chili Peppers is Renee Zellweger singing her slender little heart out from Chicago. The White Stripes sweating right next door to Whitney Houston. You get the picture.

I imagine myself a victim of some senseless crime or crash where the emergency personnel first admire my fashion sense and then gingerly remove my headphones only to find that I've been felled while Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffying my way across the street. They begin to laugh neglecting to give me the treatment I so urgently require. My last words might be, no really...I was just listening to classic Squeeze right before that came on...honest.


Biore or Why I Love My Life

Man I feel lucky sometimes. Whenever I'm feeling blah say, I can think back on some of the great things I've seen/heard in my life and that tempers the feeling.

Particular to why I feel lucky at this moment has to do with music. Be it a smoky jazz number, an aria or even a good rock or rap number, I got the music in me.

Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Omara Portuondo in concert. She was 'presented' by the Buena Vista Social Club. Shhh - confession: I've not actually seen the film BVSC but I know Omara's voice from a friend at work introducing me to her. I went with Arlene and Ssea who I don't see often but who are a lot of fun to be with. I pitched the idea to them and they were all for going whereas I couldn't muster much interest from other friends. Good for them! Good for me!

It was Omara's Flor de Amor tour supporting her latest album. I was familiar with most of the material which helps especially since she is Cuban and doesn't generally sing in English. It's beside the point that it's not in English really since the sound is so lovely and aren't all songs when they're boiled down about love, sex or death anyway?

She performed 8 of the numbers off the album and 7 or 8 others and kept Roy Thomson Hall alive for 2 hours. And actually she did sing one partly in English (The Man I Love).

The band of about 12 or 13 (hard to tell as they came on and left depending on the song) was smokin' hot and lively. Great musicians and a very spirited Omara. She was sweet like your friend's mother might be given a stage to dance and sing on. She sidled, sashayed and stepped all across the stage playing to the whole crowd. She incited us to clap, get up offa our seats and to sing along. There's nothing quite so freeing as singing at the top of your lungs when you're not even sure what you're singing. Again, I'm a white boy who speaks one language, the language of music. Couldn't resist. I meant English.

So Omara has me clapping and singing along happily and what I'm singing to mimic her and everyone else sounds like 'Biore'. Hmm, am I singing about pore strips here? Or maybe a love gone right? I'll never know. Don't care. I think the word sublime is overused but it fits here. I expected a good show and it was a great show. Sort of like a James Last Experience but more Latin. Ladies and gentleman, The James Latin Experience with Omara Portuondo! Everybody swing!

At ease with the crowd and clearly adored, Omara had no trouble letting her band shine which wasn't tough considering they were so tight. Everybody on the stage let loose. Okay so now I've made them tight and loose, I'll have to think on that.

When was the last time a violin solo got a standing ovation? Okay, maybe Lucia Micarelli on Josh Groban's tour with her unexpected rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody but that was a different thing. Hate to say it Josh but she outshone you.

What is it about Latin music that makes me throw my hands up in the air? I dunno. Ask Mercedes Sosa. She had the same effect on the crowd when I saw her a few years back. And she barely got up off of her stool. The crowd was frenzied and cheering for her too and she was like a raw force of nature.

Omara's orchestra were all great and a mix of young and more mature artistes. Rather than go on and on, let it stand at I can't say enough good but you really have to hear it/see the whole thing live. I can say that because I have.

I've sung proudly and loudly about the pore strips and now I'm off to bed.


The Electric Horseman Takes The A Train

He brought us together but I wonder if he'd have the power to tear us asunder? Would he understand the word asunder?

It was just one of those things. You know, you ride the train to work, you look at the people, you make up little histories or you think you know their personalities just from looking at them. Often you'd find you're totally wrong about people given the chance to get to know them but when you don't get that chance? You're right about everything.

I first saw him one wintry morn. I was nestled in my book, something assuredly brilliant, can't remember what exactly, when he got on the train. Do I need to clarify that the train was stationary? I get on at the first stop and being obsessive about being late for anything, I'm there a good 20 minutes before the train even thinks about moving toward the downtown core and my waiting work.

He was quite a sight, the kind that might make the good Lord cry out O Jesus God! Look at ya! I never meant for this... All of 5 foot tall and desperately trying to seem taller by wearing cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat. Also, an oversized rich tan suedy looking jacket to match the hat. The effect of course was to dwarf the little fella even more. Betrayed by his own lack of fashion sense among other things. Did I mention the craggy pock marked face and the fish eyes? No? Well, I don't think I need to get detailed, let's just accept that he was not your garden variety specimen of humanity ready to delight any and all comers. I did like that he was going for a look but loved it more that he was botching it with every breath.

After settling back and rejoining my book in progress, I was alarmed back to the point of actually having to turn and crane my neck at the sound. Someone was talking in that I've been everywhere man, I've seen everything man way but with the cadence more a croak than a steady sure tone. Someone was talking in a loud rasp. Stop and think about that. A croaking raspy voice only loud and cracking. It was him, the Electric Horseman speaking with a girl about some injustice or other. Wow, such a voice to match such a man. Sounds like he's got a solution for every problem from a PTA issue to world peace and global economics. He's got the whole world in his hands. If only they weren't so small.

I love the people watching on the train and he was just someone else for me to wonder about. A few days later, I saw him again but at the end of the day and on the ride home. Now commuters are a very special breed. There are all of three stops before the end of the line on my route. After the first stop on the way home, it's still another good 20 minutes to go. At this point, people start to crowd the doorway and jockey for position to be first out into the parking lot. At the last stop. Not the next one or the one after that, the last stop. These are the Runners.

Those train doors open and they start off pell mell down the steepish slope from the platform into the lot. Maniacs really. People bumping into each other and cars as they weave through the lot aching to be on their way. Car alarms are set off by the mad rush and crush of movement. It's just that manic and nuts. Sometimes I hold back a bit just to watch the spectacle.

Wouldn't you know it, the Cowboy is first out of the gate and I watch his little legs carry him to his waiting chariot, a Rabbit, one of the originals by the look of it. Nothing particularly wrong with a Rabbit. Not according to my sister anyway. She got hers when they first came out too but only after she studied Consumer Reports and other such publications. I don't want anything I've had to think that much about. He guns it, narrowly missing a couple of pedestrians as he motors out of the lot. This guy's a danger for sure.

Before long, I find myself paying extra attention to his antics. I hear him croaking on about all the assholes that he encounters everywhere, at work, in the neighborhood or anywhere really. He holds a couple of women who must work with him hostage with his rants. But then I see they're not so much hostages as participants in a strange dance of idiocy. I eventually suss out that one of the women lives near him and also seems to feel that everyone else but their small party is an idiot or asshole. The other girl doesn't say much but nods enough so that I understand she thinks the same way only she's maybe not as articulate.

The Cowboy and his little Cow Pattys. Quaint. Almost.

I'm waiting for the train on the platform one day behind a couple of other people. I've seen these two before chatting conspiratorially. To me, they're the ambiguously gay guy and his sassy unknowing wife. They seem nice enough and I can tell by watching them that they're people watchers too. They make comments with hands cupped at the sides of their mouths which rather than shrouding what they're doing only makes it more obvious.

The lady says something about that guy, you know, the one with the boots, well he almost spit on me the other day. I lean in, this sounds good. I was walking to the train in the morning and he came tearing around the corner and spit a big gob of gum out! He actually spit it out! It just missed me. The a.g. guy says you mean the guy who wears the cowboy hat and stuff? Yeah! Him! Well, I just glared at him and he said to me 'oh sorry, I didn't see you there' and I just said back to him 'yeah I know'. Can you believe him? Spitting! I lean back out. So, others seem to have an opinion of my little friend too, however mundane.

As luck would have it, I'd had a few days off and was glad to not have the Cowboy or anyone else in my sights. Ultimately, I'm a lone gunman. Like my quiet time, don't need the stimuli from the noisy world unless we're talking about the other times when I do need it.

Back in the same routine and line behind Sass and a.g. guy and he starts in with It's too bad you weren't on the train last night. Hmm, maybe they're not married. The hat guy got into an argument with another guy about driving too fast in the parking lot. No! You mean the guy with the boots and hat? Yes, the Cowboy. I had to. I leaned closer and said You mean the good lookin' fella? At this they both turned around, gauged my comment, accepted the sarcasm and laughed. Sass said to me I don't know who you are but I like you. They drew me into the rest of the story. Cowboy Bob had gotten into a bit of a shouting match on the train with another guy who was generally known to be quiet. Cowboy had nearly run him over and the guy mentioned to him that he should be more careful in the parking lot. Cowboy tried to shift the blame. Before they got to the gunslinging, the ride was over and they both ran to their respective cars.

Over time and with our shared love of observing the Cowboy at his worst (he didn't have a best), these two and I struck up a train friendship, even sat together on occasion. Nice people, both as sarcastic as me which I just had to love. Of course I actually edit my sarcasm output because what I often really want to say might make people more afraid than they really need to be at any given exchange with me.

It turns out they are married but their work schedules are all over the place and this is why they're not always on the same ride home. I can't remember why exactly, that would be boring. Feh.

We enjoy many catty chats about our favourite love to hate passenger, zee Cowboy. That's fun until he stops taking the train and we have to focus on others and ourselves for entertainment value on the ride home. There's a lot of good value for money with us together ridin' the rails though. Everyone's a target.

What would that little man think if he know he was personally responsible for forging such train friendships? I don't know. I wonder if that chick stuffed into the spandex could lend some insight.

Grouse Is A Dish Best Served Cold

I do so love a catchy title don't you? Sometimes that's all there is. Although I don't vividly remember the story itself, David Sedaris' Dinah The Christmas Whore is a title burned forever in my memory.


It's been brought to my attention (by me) that I cannot write unless I'm very interested in something, really happy about a particular event, pissed off or reviewing one event or another. Is there no middle ground? Perhaps this is it. Rambling around in my own brain looking for a way out.

A recurring thought - had I realized sooner that I, of all others, should by now be a literary scene darling pretending to hate the parties, I wouldn't be in this mess. You see, often I'll read something by one of the good Mssrs Sedaris, Lethem, Burroughs or Palahniuk, I think 'hey fucker, stop marauding around in my head and give me back my stuff'. Many's the time when I've already thought, said, described something in just the way one of them has and it makes me crazy/crazier.

Vicky and Sandra, booster commissionaires extraordinaires, tell me there there, you've got the Canadian perspective, the crazy family, the brilliant friends, just do it! They might be right.

I'll let you know how that works out for me. In between downloading songs for my iPod, my favourite inanimate object of late.


Blogomatic For The People

Because I've been known to be occasionally lazy, (yes me!), I've written nary a speck in the last while. Unless signing your name for room service counts?

So I've decided to throw in a guest Blog from Vicky. Vicky wrote a brilliant piece on her recent weekend descent into hell or rather her ascent and descent. Sandra asked Vicky along for her annual Chicks Hanging Off Mountains Invitational to be held in Lake Placid. Vicky's game for anything reasonable from what I can tell. Both are in great shape and my main point of interest in their weekend event was that they would be staying at Art Devlin's Olympic Motor Inn. I just like the way that sounds.

After reading her piece on the experience, I suggested that maybe I'd guest blog her. Vicky's proposal: Pretend it happened to you. Of course I simply couldn't do this because I'd never be found anywhere remotely near the activities discussed and people would finally have the proof that I'm a big fat liar, something I continually tell myself I'm not.

Bereft of material at present to wax on (say it with me: wax off) and without further ado, may I present --

Vicky Proves Nature To Be The Messy Brat That I've Always Suspected

Sandra and I may have different impressions of how the weekend went. As I said to that very fit group of ladies, it was a weekend of memorable meals, wonderful views, lots of laughs, enjoyable company, and not bad outlet shopping so my only complaint would be the activities I was forced to participate in.

When they said "hiking" I pictured some strenuous walking along rugged paths, not scrambling up and down the side of a mountain on my hands and knees over sheer rock at times, grabbing onto roots like Tarzan. They had such a fast pace that I found it hard to keep up and was on my own a lot of the way. I would have been comfortable at a more leisurely pace. When we got to the top I was asked if the view wasn't worth the effort and I tried not to burst her bubble but frankly the answer was no.

Parts of my body that I didn't even know I had were killing me. They were all sucking back Ibuprofen like it was M & M candy before the start of one "hike". What kind of fun are you planning to have where you are taking the painkiller before you even start to move? I should have know enough to run right then and there. Instead I ended up sweating, covered in mud and bug bites.

The first day I put on sunscreen but then was told I wouldn't need it. The second day I got burned, probably at the top of the peak. The thing is you work so hard to get to the top and then because I was the slow one I had the least amount of time to rest and enjoy the view before it was time to start back down. You can't stay too long at the top because there are bugs that pester you to death. There were hundreds of teeny little spiders crawling over everything the first day. I mean, really.

I just kept telling myself that I would never have to go through this again if I could just get through it. It was hours of literally willing one foot in front of the other without looking too far ahead because after rounding twenty bends just to see more sheer rock it gets very daunting. The second peak required constant rock hopping to get down. After two hours of jumping on rocks with my legs in a straddle position and trying not to twist my ankle for a fifth time I thought I would never be able to walk normally again. I feared I would look like some kind of Rumpelstiltskin troll trying to go into a decent restaurant to get my dinner and they would not let me in unless I could confirm this was a congenital abnormality.

I slipped at one point and fell on my bottom, into a nice mud puddle. My shoe got stuck in some intractable mud and while I hopped like a flamingo trying to extricate the shoe (it would not budge) Sandra was finally successful in retrieving the shoe. She had it in her hand and was passing it to me when she dropped it in the water so I had to put on the wet shoe and squelch my way along.

However, having accomplished the climbs I can say it does feel good to know I did it. The physical exertion did feel good after all but I really don't know if I could do it again. I guess that the next time I would at least know better what to expect so the mental strain would not be as bad. But this was a fast group. Even for the "walk" around Mirror Lake I found i had to work hard to keep up. I hardly had time to enjoy the view because I had to focus on breathing to keep up. That is not really my style. So I don't know if I would go again if asked but time does give perspective so who knows.

What do you say Dale? Have I persuaded you to take a jaunt there?

My resounding answer: No effing way man.


Robitussin Dream No 3

Warmth. Darkness. Tranquility. Bathed in a nurturing life affirming fluid, I drift and roll. This cocoon of love will make me what I am to be.

Throbbing. Pressure. A far off light. Muffled sounds. What is this? What is happening? Am I ready to be born? Isn’t it too soon? I’m not ready. Leave me in.

Heaving. Coughing. Sputtering. Wheezing for breath. Forces propel me upright. Cough. Shake. Breathe, almost. I awake to find I’ve not been born. I’ve been left for near dead by the evil Robitussin. Stuff doesn’t work. Although I don't mind Wildberry as much as I thought I might.

Where are my cigarettes?